tv Legal View With Ashleigh Banfield CNN February 9, 2015 9:00am-10:01am PST
welcome back. we're only moments away from the president of the united states and the chancellor of jeremy, angela merkel. they're getting ready to go to the microphone, make opening statements and answer reporter's question. high on the agenda, the awful situation in ukraine but certainly the situation, the war on isis on the agenda as well. jack tapper is here with us. this is a really sensitive important critically decisive moment for the president right now. does he go ahead and supply weapons to ukraine or not? >> and in the past we've seen the president guided by the notion of blowback, the idea that involvement in another country's moern affairs can result in the circumstances that the u.s. does not want. we've also seen the example of not getting involved, specifically in syria, also resulting in blow-back with the
administration, the threat from isis. right now the big question for the president is, does he care more about ukraine than the russians do. because if he does not, if the russians care about it more, then ultimately, ultimately this is going to resolve itself with russia grabbing territory from ukraine, more territory from ukraine. they've already taken crimea. >> let me go to jim acosta. i take it the delegations, they're already there, the german delegation, the u.s. delegation. we're waiting for the president and the germ man chancellor to walk in. >> we're getting close. the u.s. delegation has made its way in. just i think to jump off of what jake was saying a few moments ago, you know, the president has tried something different with respect to russia than he has with isis and other hot spots around the world. we'll getting the two-minute warning now.
and that is sanctions. they believe -- economy, that it has inflected a lot of pain on russians and but they don't feel like it's changed vladimir putin's calculous. it's not changed his decision-making when it comes to dealing with ukraine. it's interesting because of the decision he has to make on arming the ukrainians. it is a departure for him and that's why you seeing so much caution on the part of the europeans. the united states would have to go with the blessing of the rest of the g 7. russia was kicked out of the g 8 a year ago when all of this was starting to unfold in crimea. if you do have a rift between the united states and germany on this issue of arming the ukrainians, what does that have an effect on potentially down the road if it comes to a more serious crisis in ukraine, let's say moving beyond eastern ukraine and the rest of the country. that is a situation that the
president is leery of. he said recently he does not want to have the united states and russia face to face in some sort of military confrontation. that is why the white house say this is so very important. >> we see the vice president in the front row, john kerry just walked in, susan rice, the president's national security adviser. they're all there. the top german leadership is there with the visiting chancellor of germany, angela merkel. with an event like this, the whole world is going to be watching right now. putin in moscow and his top advisers are going to be watching this closely. >> i'm sure they have their sources to tell them already what's going on. the russians don't exactly not have intelligence when it comes to europe. >> here comes chancellor merkel and the president of the united states. they're getting to the microphones so we'll listen in. >> good morning, everybody.
please be seated. as always, it is a great pleasure to welcome my close friend and partner, chancellor angela merkel back to the white house. angela, of course, has been here many times, but this visit is a chance for me to congratulate her on two achievements well into her third term, angela is now one of germany's longest serving chancellors. perhaps more importantly, this is my first opportunity to congratulate angela and germany on their fourth world title. our u.s. team gets better each world cup, so watch out in 2018. germany is one of our strongest allies. so whenever we meet it's an opportunity to coordinate closely on a whole range of issues critical to our shared
security and prosperity. as angela and our german friends prepare to host the g 7 this spring, it's also important for us to be able to coordinate on a set of shared goals. and in our working lunch this afternoon, we'll focus on what we can do to keep the economy growing and creating jobs. as strong supporters of the transatlantic trade and investment partnership, we agree that there needs to be meaningful progress this year toward an agreement that boosts our economies with strong protections for consumers and warni workers and the environment. i look forward to hearing angela's assessment of how europe can work with the greek government to find a way to restore grease back to the euro zone, critical to both the united states and the global economy. we'll be discussing our work to get all major economies to take ambitious action on climate change, including our initiative to limit public financing for
coal fired power plants overseas and our global efforts to phase down the most dangerous greenhouse gases. our discussion this morning focused on global security issues. question agree that the international community has to continue with the sanctions as part of our diplomatic effort to prevent iran from obtaining weapons. two issues in particular that dominated our work day this morning, russia's aggression against ukraine and the international fight against isil. with regard to rurk sha and the separatists it supports in ukraine, it's clear that they've violated just about ever commitment they made in the
minsk agreement. instead of with drawing from eastern ukraine, russian forces continue to operate there -- armed personnel carriers and heavy artillery. with russian support the i they've destroyed villages and driven more ukrainians from their homes. these are the facts. but russian aggression has only reinforced the unity of the united states with germany and her partners around the world. i want to thank angela for a strong partnership. chancellor merkel and jvice president biden met over the weekend. we continue to encourage a diplomatic resolution to this issue. and as diplomatic efforts continue this weak, we're in
absolute agreement that the 21st century cannot stand idle, have us stand idle and simply allow the borders of europe to be redrawn at the barrel of a gun. today we've agreed to move forward with our strategy along with our nato allies. we'll keep bolstering our appearance. we will continue to work with the imf and other partners to provide ukraine with critical financial support as it pursues economic and anti-corruption reforms. we discussed the issue of how best to assist ukraine as it defends itself. and we agreed that sanctions on russia need to remain fully in force until russia complies fully with its obligations. even as we continue to work for a diplomatic solution, we are making it clear again today that if russia continues on its
current course, which is ruining the russian economy and hurting the russian people as well as having such a terrible effect on ukraine, russia's isolation will only worsen politically and economically. with regard to isil, germany and the united states remain united in our determination to destroy this barbaric organization. i thank angela for her strong support as a member of the international coalition that is working in iraq. in a significant milestone, germany has taken the important step of equips kurdish forces in iraq and germany is preparing to leading the train mission in erbil. they're combatting the threat of foreign terrorist fighters, which was a focus of the un security council i chaired last fall. and under angela's leadership, germany is moving ahead with new
legislation to prevent tlafrlers from traveling to and from syria and iraq. at the both time we recognize that young people in both of our countries are being targeted for recruitment by terrorists. and protecting our young people from this hateful ideology so they're not june rabble such recru recruitment for communities and families. pu we can help these communities, starting with the tone and the example that we set in our own countries. i want to commend angela for her leadership, her leadership speaking out forcefully against zeen phobia and prejudice. she's made it clear that all religious community have a place in germany just as they do here in the united states. and we're grateful that our german friends will be joining us at our summit next week on
countering violent extremism because this is a challenge our countries have to meet together. let me end on an historic note. this year marks the 70 anniversary of the end of the second world war. it marks the 25th anniversary of the reunification of germany. at a time when conflicts around the world sometimes seem intractable, when progress seem beyond grasp, germany's story gives us hope. we can end wars. countries can rebuild. adversaries can become allies. walls can come down, divisions can be healed. germany's story and the story of angela's life remind us that when three people stand united our interests and values will ultimately prevail. as we look to the future, i'm grateful for my partnership with angela as americans are grateful for their partnership with the
people of germany. chancellor merkel. >> translator: thank you, president barack. i'm delighted to be -- to do with first and foremost the fact that we have assumed the presidency of of this year and that we coordinate on these matters very closely as we do with others and obviously we'll address issues related to the global economy when we met in ba vary ya this summer. from a european vantage point i think we can say that we have made significant progress in a number of areas. we have countries who are now back on the growth path. ireland comes to mind but also spain and portugal after a strong phase of structural reforms they have now made significant progress, the new
commissioner that's come in office has launched a growth program in which germany will participate. we will pin our hopes basically on growth and infrastructure but also on other growth projects. for example, the digital economy, the state of the digital economy in the united states. there is a lot of things to be done by the europeans now. i would say that a free trade agreement, the conclusion of a free trade agreement would go a long way towards boosting growth. we know you're very much engaged in the asian pacific area. and germany will come out forcefully in seeing that the negotiations between the eu and the united states on free trade agreements are pursued in a vigorous manner. it's in our own vested interest in the united states of the interest but also in the german interest. we're dealing basically on our g 7 agenda with health issues.
let me just mention one. what sort of lessons have we learned for example from the terrible ebola epidemic. i think the one thing we've learned is that the international organizations, the international community has to be quicker in reacting to such epidemics and the g 7 can give a very important contribution to doing this. we're also interested, for example, in seeing them be successful. we're delighted to conclude the replenishment conference. then we dealt with security issues this morning. it's true germany this year celebrates the 25th anniversary of its reunificatioreunificatio. this would not have been akmooefable without the support of the united states of america and we will always be grateful for this. it is one case in point that it is well worth the effort to stand by one's values for decades to pursue long term goals and not relent in those
efforts. after we thought in the '90s maybe that things would turn out somewhat for easily, somewhat less complicated, now we see ourselves confronted with a whole wealth of conflicts. complex ones at that. we worked together in afghanistan. we talked about this as well. germany has decided in its fight against isis to give help, to deliver training missions, to deliver also weapons and if necessary we work together on the iran nuclear program where we also enter into a crucial phase of negotiations. one particular priority was given to the conflict between ukraine and russia this morning. we stand up with the same principles of invileability of territory integrity. for somebody who comes from europe, i can only say, if we give up this principle of
territorial integrity, we will not be able to maintain the peaceful order of europe. it's essential. a crucial point and we have to stand by it and russia has violated the territorial integrity of ukraine in two pt ares. in crimea and also in donetsk. so we are called upon now to come up with solutions, but not in the sense of a mediator, but we also stand up for the interests of the european peaceful order. and this is what the french president and i have been trying to do over the past few days. we're going to continue those efforts and i'm very grateful that throughout the ukraine crisis we have been in very, very close contact with the united states of america and europe on sanctions, on diplomatic initiatives. this is going to be continued. that's indeed one of the most important messages that we can send to russia and need to send
to russia. we continue to pursue a diplomatic solution although we have suffered a lot of setbacks. these days we will see whether all sides are ready and willing to come to negotiated settlement. i've always said i don't see a military solution to this conflict but we have to put -- we need to discuss over lunch, we'll continue to talk about climate protection, about sustainable development and the sustainable development goals. so yet again, thank you very much for the very close cooperation, very close coordination and the possibility to have an exchange of view on these crucial issues. i think not only in hindsight can we safely say that the united states have always stood by us, have helped us to regain our unity in peace and freedom. wu we can also say we continue to cooperate closely if it's about solving the conflicts of
the world today. unfortunately there are many of them and we'll continue to do so in the future. thank you for your hospitality. >> first question, steve, "washington post." >> thank you. you stressed that u.s. and europe need to have cohesion on the issue of sanctions and in dealing with ukraine and yet the administration was discussing sending lethal weapons to ukraine which is very different from what the chancellor said over the weekend. i was wondering if this is a good cop bad cop act or is this a real reflection of difference of views on the situation on the ground. and more broadly, if there's no agreement this week, what lies ahead? are we looking at a broader set of sanctions? what makes us think those set of sanctions will change the russian president's mind any more than the current ones? >> well, let me start with the
broader point. i think both angela and i have emphasized that the prospect for a military solution to this problem has always been low. russia obviously has an extraordinarily powerful military and, you know, given the length of the russian border with ukraine, given the history between russia and ukraine, expecting that if russia is determined that ukraine can fully rebuff a russian army has always been unlikely. but what we have said is that the international community working together can ratchet up the costs for the violation of
the core principle of sovereignty and integrity. that's what we've done. russia has paid a significant cost for its actions first if crimea and now in eastern ukraine. it has not yet dissuaded mr. putin from following the course that he is on. but it has created immeasurable negative impact on the russian economy. and that will continue. my hope is that through these diplomatic efforts those costs have become high enough that mr. putin's preferred option is for a diplomatic resolution. i won't prejudge whether or not they'll be successful. if they are successful it will be in part because of the extraordinary patience and
effort of chancellor merkel and her team. if they are not, then we'll won't to raise the costs. and we will not relent in that. and one of the things i'm very encouraged about is the degree to which we've been able to maintain u.s./european unity on this issue. now, it is true that if in fact diplomacy feels, what i've asked my team to do is to look at all options. what other means can we put in place to change mr. putin's calculous. and the possibility of lethal defense is one of those options that's being examine pd. but i have not made a decision about that yet. i've consulted with not just angela but will be consulting with other allies about this
issue. it's not based on the idea that ukraine could defeat a russian army that was determined. it is rather to see whether or not there are additional things we can do to help ukraine bolster its defenses in the face of separatists aggression. but i want to emphasize a decision has not yet been made. one of the bigger issues that we're also -- and the prime minister can continue with the reform efforts that they've made. and i'm glad to see that because of our cooperation and our efforts we're starting to see a package come together with the imf, with the european union and others that can help bolster the european economy so that they have the space to continue to execute some of the reforms and anti-corruption measures that they've made.
one of the most important things we can do for ukraine is help them succeed economically. because that's how people on the ground feel this change, this transformation inside ukraine. if that experiment fails, then the larger project of an independent ukraine will fail. we're going to do everything we can to help bolster that. but there is no doubt that if in fact diplomacy fails this week there's going to continue to be a strong unified response between the united states and europe. that's not going to change. there may be some areas where there are tactical disagreeme s disagreements. there may not be. but the broad principle that we have to stand up for, not just ukraine, but it is one where we're completely unified.
>> translator: french president and i have decided to make one further attempt to make progress through diplomatic means. we have the minsk agreement. the minsk agreement has never been implemented. the situation has worsened on the ground. now there is a possibility to try and bring about a cease-fire and to also create conditions that are in place where you have not every day civilians dying, civil victims that fall prey to this. i'm absolutely confident that we'll do this together. i myself actually would not be able to live without not having made this attempt. so there is anything but an a short success in all of this. i have to be very clear about all of this. but if at a certain point in
time one has to say that success is not possible, even if one puts every effort into it, then the united states and europe have to sit together and try and explore further possibilities of what one can do. just let me point out here that prime ministers of the european union last week tasked the foundation to think about possible sanctions on the issue of what is effective and what is not. i'm somewhat surprised sometimes. just let me mention iran. for a fairly long period of time we have had sanctions in place there. people don't seem to question them. and i think they have been fairly successful if we look at the current state of affairs with the negotiations on the nuclear program. so i think it was a very good thing to put some costs on to the russians through these
sanctions that we agreed on. we see also that russia seems to be influenced by this. this is why i'm 100% behind these decisions. as to the export of arms, i have given you my opinion. but you may rest assured that no matter what we decide, the alliance between the united states and europe will continue to stand, will continue to be solid. even though, and on certain issues we may not always agree. but this partnership, be it on ukraine and russia, be it on combatting terrorism on the international scene, be it on other issues, is a partnership that has stood the test of time and that is -- i mean in europe, we're very close, but this transatlantic partnership-for-germany and europe is indispensable. and this will remain so. and i can say this on behalf of my colleagues in the european
union. sorry. i have to call you myself. from dpa, the germ man press agency. president you said you have not made a decision as to whether weapons ought to be delivered to the ukraine. what would be the red line that needs to be crossed for you to decide armament of the ukrainian army. and what do you think will this hold by way of a promise. the chancellor said it will make matters -- diffuse this conflict. and president putin today demanded yet again that the government in kiev negotiate directly with the separatists. what do you think the right moment has come to do this and with looking at all of the big issues that it's discussed, this breach of confidence due to the nsa affair has, after
u.s.-german relations, has that played a role today? >> do you want to go first, angela? >> translator: i can gladly start. the question as to how one assesses the effectiveness of certain measures has been actually dealt with. the president has not yet made a decision as he said. what's important for me is that we stand very closely together. on the question of a new renewed diplomatic effort. we keep each other informed. we're in close touch. and nobody wishes more for a success than the two of us who stand here side by side. but this would also mean, not only having a cease-fire in place but over and above that having certain rules in place. let me just point out to you,
these direct contracts already exist through the group with representatives from donetsk. and the brob the last few days and the problem of the last few meetings actually was rather more than -- there was not really that much of an end result. if they met at all -- or if representatives from dunonetsk were there at all. sometimes they didn't even arrive. this was after the call of the minsk agreement that there with local elections in accordance with the ukrainian constitution. the outcome is that you have authorities that can speak for those regions. and the ukrainian president paved the way for this, giving specific status to donetsk. and these elections are a central point that will enable us to say well maybe now they can be contract without a
trilateral group. this is on the agenda of the talks that we need to make. but i can very well understand the ukrainian side on the territory that they consider to be part of their territory and that anything else would violate the territory integrity that they want to actually see the elections take place there. and that has always been stated by the president putin that he wishes to see the elections happening there. on the nsa issue, i think there are still different assessments on individual issues there. but if we look at the sheer dimension of the terrorists threat, we're more than aware of the fact that we need to work together very closely. i want to state very clearly that the institutions of the united states of america have provided us and still continue to provide us with a lot of significant, very important information that also help our security. we don't want to do without
this. there are other possibilities throw the cyber dialogue to continue to talk about the sort of p of protection of privacy. but this was basically combatting terrorism was in the forefront today. >> providing lethal weapons to ukraine. it's important to point out that we have been providing assistance to the ukrainian military general, that's part of a long standing relationship between nato and ukraine. and our goal has not been for ukraine to be equipped to carry on offensive operations, but to simply defend itself. and president poroshenko has been very clear. he's not interested in escalating violence. he's interested in having his country, his country's boundaries respected by its
neighbor. there's not going to be any specific point at which i say, a clearly lethal defensive weapons would be appropriate here. it is the ongoing analysis of what can we do to dissuade russia from encroaching further and further on ukrainian territory. our hope is that that's done through diplomatic means. i want to emphasize here once again, for the benefit of not just the america people but for the german people, we are not looking for russia to fail. -- and weakened. our preference is for a trong prosperous, vibrant, confident russia that can be a partner with us on a whole host of global challenges.
that's how i operated throughout any first term in office. unfortunately, russia has made a decision i think is bad for them strategically, bad for europe and bad for the world. and in the face of this aggression and these bad decisions, you know, we can't simply trito talk them out of it. we have to show them that the world is unified and imposing a cost for this aggression. and that's what we're going to continue to do. with respect the to the nas, i'll make this point very briefly. there's no doubt that the snowden revelations damaged impressions of germans with respect to the u.s. government and our intelligence
cooperation. and what i have done over the last year, year and a half, is to systematically work through some of these issues to create greater transparency and to restore confidence, not just for jgermans but for our partners around the world. we've taken some unprecedented measures, for example, to make sure that our intelligence agencies treat non-u.s. citizens in ways that have consistent with due process and their privacy concerns. something that i put in a presidential order and has not been ever done, not only by our intelligence agencies, but i think by most intelligence agencies around the world. there are still going to be areas where we've got to work
through these issues. we have to internally work throw some of these issues. they're complicated. they're difficult. if we're trying to track a network that is planning to carry out attacks in new york or berlin or paris and they are communicating primarily in cyberspace and we have the capacity to stop an attack like that, but that requires us then being able to operate within that cyberspace. how do we make sure we're able to do that, carry out those functions while still meeting our core principles of respecting the privacy of all of our people. and given germany's history, i recognize the sensitive the iti around this issue. i would ask that the germans
recognize that the united states has been on the forefront trying to promote civil liberties, that we have been a consistent partner of yours in the course of the last 70 years and certainly the last 25 years in reinforcing the values that we share. and so occasionally i would like the german people to give us the benefit of the doubt, given our history, as opposed to assuming the worst, assuming that we have been consistently your strong partners and that we share a common set of values. and if we have that fundamental underlying trust, there are going to be times when there are disagreements and both sides may make mistakes and there are going to be irritants like there are between friends. but the underlying foundation for the relationship remains sound. christy parsons.
>> thank you, mr. president. the iran nuclear negotiators have now missed two deadlines. should the upcoming march deadline for talks be the final one? and what are the circumstances in which you think it would be wise to extend those talks? also, sir, some have suggested that you're outraged by the israeli prime minister's decision to address congress. is that so? and how would you advise democrats who are considering a boycott? >> first of all, we understood, i think from the start, when we set up the interim agreement with iran -- credibly complex issues. and a huge trust deficit between the united states and iraq and the world and iraq when it comes to their nuclear program. i think there was also the
assumption that, although the interim agreement lasted a certain period of time, that we would probably need more time to move forward. the good news is, is that there have been very serious discussions. that time has been well spent. during this period of time issues have been clarified, gaps have been narrowed, the iranians have abided by the agreement. so this is not a circumstance in which by talking they've been stalling and meanwhile advancing their program. to the contrary what we know is the program has not only been frozen but with respect to, for example, 20% in rich uranium, they've reversed it. we're in a better position now than we were when the program was set up. having said all of that, the issues now are sufficiently narrowed and sufficiently clarified. we're at a point where they node
to make a decision. we are presenting to them in a unified fashion, the p5+1 supported by a coalition of countries around the world are presenting to them a deal that allows them to have peaceful nuclear power but gives us the absolute assurance that is verifiable that they are not pursuing a nuclear weapon. and if in fact what they claim is true, which is they have no aspiration to get a nuclear weapon, that in fact, according to their supreme leader, it would be contrary to their faith to obtain a nuclear weapon, if that is true, there should be the possibility of getting a deal. they should be able to get the yes. but we don't know if that's going to happen.
they have their hard liners, they have their politics. and the point, i guess, is christy, at this juncture, i don't see a further extension being useful if they have not agreed to the basic formulation and the bottom line that the world requires to have confidence that they're not pursuing a nuclear weapon. now, if the framework for a deal is done, if people have a clear sense of what is required and there cease some drafting and ts to cross and is to dot, that's a different issue. but my view, and aye presented this to members of congress is that we now know enough that the issues are not longer technical. the issues now are, does iran have the political will and the desire to get a deal done. and we could not be doing this
were it not for the incredible cohesion and unity that's been shown by germany, by the other members of the p5+1 which i should acknowledge includes russia. this season this is an area where they've served a constructive role. china has served a constructive role. there has been no cracks in this -- on the p5+1 side of the table. and i think that's a testament to the degree to which we are acting reasonably in trying to actually solve a problem. with respect to prime minister netanyahu, as i said before, i talk to him all the time. our teams constantly coordinate. we have a practice of not meeting with leaders right
before their elections, two weeks before their elections. as much as i love angela, if she was two weeks away from an election, she probably would not have received an invitation to the white house. and i suspect she wouldn't have asked for one. so, you know, the -- so, you know, this is just -- some of this just has to do with how we do business. and i think it's important for us to maintain these protocols because the u.s.-israeli relationship is not about -- relationship founded on affinity between the labor party and the
democrat party. this is the u.s.-israeli relationship. that extends beyond parties. it has to do with that unbreakable bond that we feel and our commitment to israel's security and the shared values that we have. and the way to preserve that is to make sure that it doesn't get clouded with what could be perceived as partisan politics. whether that's accurate or not, that is a potential perception and that's something that we have to guard against. now, i don't want to be coy. the prime minister and i have a very real difference between iran. iran's sanctions. i have been very clear, and angela agrees with me and david cameron and the others who are a member of the negotiations agree that it does not make sense to sour the negotiations a month or
two before they're about to be completed. and we should play that out, if in fact we can get a deal. then we should embrace that. we can't get a deal, then we'll have to make a set of decisions. and as i've said to congress, i'll be the first to work with them to apply stronger measures against iran. but what's the rush? unless your view is that it's not possible to get a deal with iran. and it shouldn't even be tested. and that i cannot agree with, because, as the president of the united states, i'm looking at what the options are if we don't get a diplomatic resolution. and those options are narrow and they're not attractive. and from the perspective of u.s. interests and i believe from the perspective of israel's interest, although i can't speak for obviously the israeli government, it is far better if we can get a diplomatic solution. there are real differences
substantively. but that's separate and apart from the whole issue of mr. netanyahu coming to washington. all right? >> translator: ms. merkel, you just said the question is what will be effective in the ukrainian crisis. and diplomacy has not brought about that much of a proexpress. can you understand the impatience of the americans when they say we're to now deliver weapons. and what makes you feel confident that diplomacy with carry the day in the next few days' weeks. what is your comment on the most recent comments of the greek prime minister who says let's end those programs and i'm going to stand to the promises i made during the election campaign.
and to you, mr. president, i addressed the question, there's quite a lot of pressure by members of your government who say weapons should be delivered to the ukrainians. now you yourself have said you want to ratchet up the cost that putin has to bear and then make him relent and give in maybe, and you said all options have to be on the table. so what makes you so sure that these weapons will not only go into the hands of the regular ukrainian army but will then also get in the hands of separatists, militias on the ukrainian side who are accused of having violated human rights? thank you. >> translator: whenever you have political conflict such as the one we have now between russia and ukraine, but also in many other conflicts around the
world, it has always proved to be right to try again and again to solve such a conflict. we've spoken at some length about the iranian conflict here too. we're expected to try time and again. and there's also a point where you say all of the options are on the table, we've gone back and forth but then you have to look gn. just at the middle east conflict for example, how many people have tried to bring about a solution to this conflict and and welcomed it ever time. now when you have a situation now where ever night you see people dying, you see civilian casualties. you see the dire conditions under which people live. it is our -- it is incumbent upon us as politicians, we owe tight the people to explore every avenue until somebody gives -- we said nobody would
have dreamt of german unity. the people who have said in west germany, remember, they said should we keep up a citizenship of germany. they've been criticized by people as some who have a revenge ideas. then think of president reagan when he said mr. gorbachev tear down this wall. how could he possibly say that? he was right. we have no guarantee. i cannot give you a guarantee for the kout yom of the wednesday talks and maybe nothing will come out of it. but then we're called on again to think about a new possibility. since we thought about every step of the way will this be effective or not, we'll continue to do so. a lot of things have to be thought about and i'm very glad that with the american president i have always been able to put all of the cards on the table and discuss the pros and cons. in my speech in munich i gay you
cle -- i gave you clearly where i stand. that's why we're politicians and chose this profession. others have to do other things. researches have to find new things to explore and people have -- we have to see that the well-being, the prosperity of our people is enshuinsured. but we never have a guarantee that -- greece, i almost forgot. on wednesday there's going to be a euro group meeting and what counts is what greece will put on the table at that meeting or perhaps a few days later. the german policy, ever since 2010, has been aimed at greece staying a member of the euro zone. i've said this time and again. the basic rules have always been
the same. you're put in your own efforts and on the other side you're being shown solidarity. a quid pro quo. the ecb, the european union commission and the imf have agreed on programs. these programs are the basis of any discussion we have. i've always said i'll wait for greece to come with a sustainable proposal and then we'll talk about this. >> the point angela made i think is right, which is we never have guarantees that any particular course of action works. as i've said before, by the time a decision reaches my desk, by definition, it's a hard problem with no easy answers otherwise somebody else would have solved it. and i would never even hear about it. the issue that you raised about
can we be certain that any lethal said that we provide ukraine is used properly, doesn't fall into the wrong hands, does not lead to overaggressive actions that can't be sustained by the ukrainians, what kinds of reactions does it prompt, not simply from the separatists but from the russians. those are all issues that have to be considered. the measure by which i make these decisions is, is it more likely to be effective than not. and that is what, you know what our deliberation wills be about. but what i do know is this. that the united states and europe have not stood idly by. we have made enormous efforts,
enormous investments of dollars, of political capital, of diplomacy in trying to resolve the situation. i think the ukrainian people can feel confident that we have stood by them. people like vice president biden and secretary of state kerry have spent countless hours on this issue, as has angela and her team on the german side. and just because we have not yet gotten the outcome that we want, doesn't mean that this pressure is not over time making a difference. i think it's fair to say there are those inside of russia who recognize this has been a disastrous course for the
russian economy. i think mr. putin -- situation is entirely resolved. we're going to have to keep on trying different things to see if we can get a better outcome. what i do know is that we will not be able to succeed unless we maintain the strong transatlantic solidarity that's been the hallmark of our national security throughout the last 70 years. and i'm confident that i've got a great partner in angela in maintaining that. thank you very much, everybody. >> all right. so there they are, the chancellor of germany, the president of the united states. they're walking out of the east room of the white house. they spent about 50 minutes before reporters in the east room answering important questions. first and foremost on the situation in ukraine. once again we want to welcome our viewers in the united states and around the world. i'm wolf blitzer reporting from
washington on the very sensitive issue of whether or not the united states should start providing military equipment, lethal aid as it's called, to the ukrainian army. here's what the president and the chancellor had to say. >> i have not made a decision about that yet. i have consulted with not just angela but will be consulting with other allies about this issue. it's not based on the idea that ukraine could defeat a russian army that was determined. it is rather to see whether or not there are different things we can do to help ukraine bolster its defenses in the face of separatists aggression. but i want to emphasize that a decision has not yet been made. >> translator: it was a very good thing to put some costs on to the russians and through these sanctions that we agreed on because we see also that russia seems to be influenced by
these. this is why i'm 100% behind these decisions, as to the export of arms, i have given you my opinion. but you may rest assured that no matter what we decide, the alliance between the united states and europe will continue to stand. >> let's bring in jack tapper, our chief washington correspondent. nuance differences, the president leaving open the option of providing lethal equipment, anti-missile to the ukrainian army. >> no question that the ukrainian president poroshenko must be very disappointed with what he heard today not just from angela merkel but also from
president obama. when the president says we've decided to move forward with our strategy, sanctions remain in force and he has not yet made a decision at this point with all of this public debate and people in his own administration saying publicly they want to provide lethal aid for the ukrainian military, that is a decision whether or not he wants to classify it as one, it is a decision not to arm them. in fact when he was asked by a german reporter if he had a red line, a moment where he would say yes, absolutely if the russians or the pro-russian separatists do that, then i absolutely will provide lethal aid. he said he couldn't cite a specific point. and in fact he even praised russia when he talked about the work being done with iran discussions. he said at the end the measure about when i make a decision of whether or not to arm the ukrainians. it is more likely to be effective or not. everything he said in that press conference is that he thinks it
is not likely to be effective at this point. >> that will seriously disappoint president poroshenko of ukraine. i want to go to ukraine right now. nick payton walsh is joining us from donetsk in ukraine. that's a hard hit area and you have been to other areas that have been bombarded. how is this likely to play in the ukraine, what we've just heard from the chancellor and the president. >> reporter: i think many may have been waiting for the conference. now frankly they sounded like two world leaders very key not to upset anybody before the minsk negotiations rather than explain how bad things could go for russia if a cease-fire wasn't agreed. lingering in my mind was the very last thing that barack obama said there. they spent a lot of time, both of them, talking about how united they were. and then he talked about how the
transatlantic partnership needed to be sustained. they sounded at times that they began to doubt the -- which made it sound like there were further kind of quiverers in his bow not clear on arming. again i heard the phrase, if diplomacy fails, what do they need to do the change the calculous of vladimir putin. if i was in the kremlin right now i would not be that concerned going into minsk. there was not the sense of the potential for things to get potentially worse for the russian economy. they didn't lay out any new sanctions and they certainly didn't make it sound serious. >> the president saying if diplomacy to fail, then that option would be on the table. everyone stand by, the breaking news will continue. let's take a quick break. much more in 60 seconds.
welcome to our viewers in the united states and around the world. we've. watching the president of the united states and the cans lore of germany speaking out on several critical issues right now. first and foremost, the escalating dangerous situation in ukraine. we heard the president say that that option of the u.s. providing military equipment to ukraine, that's on the table, it's being considered but president obama insisting he's made no decision, no decision at least not yet. the chancellor of germany angela merkel making it clear she opposes any such military equipment going to ukraine right now. let's go to our senior correspondent jim acosta. he's still there. give